The winner of the Australian Solar Flagship Program is a 159MW PV project in NSW (New South Wales) developed by AGL and First Solar, the Australian Solar Industry has announced.
This is not only a game changer, as John Grimes of the Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) calls it, because Big Solar has finally arrived in Australia but also because due to continuing price drops in solar the project will only cost approximately AUS$129.7 million, half as much as originally estimated. AuSES explained that when it comes to cost, solar power is able to compete with traditional fuels and it is a 'rational economic choice.'
"Big Solar is ready to compete with dirty power on price alone. This same dramatic reduction in the cost of solar PV means the Australian Government can now deliver this159MW project for $129.7 million, more than half the funding previously budgeted for the former BP Solar project in Moree," John Grimes further stated. "Big Solar is on a roll in Australia. In addition to the 159MW project in NSW, we will also see 210MW in the ACT and a 10MW First Solar plant in WA (Western Australia), and that is just the beginning."
AGL will develop a 106MW PV plant in Nyngan as well as a 53MW project in Broken Hill. Both plants will be designed and constructed by First Solar, who will also provide EPC services to the PV plants.
"This is a significant step forward for the utility-scale solar industry in Australia—an order of magnitude increase in project size—and a testimony to the confidence our customers have in First Solar technology and its performance in some of the hottest and harshest conditions in the world," said Jim Hughes, First Solar CEO. "These projects demonstrate First Solar's ability to apply its vertically integrated capabilities to deliver competitive, comprehensive, utility-scale solar solutions in future sustainable markets. We look forward to working with AGL on more projects like this in the future."